After making her first appearance of the season with the New England Mutiny Sunday night against Philadelphia, former Florida St. defender Toni Pressley was abruptly – and somewhat surprisingly – let out of her contract Thursday so she could sign with WPSL Elite rival Western New York.
“There is no argument that Toni Pressley is a very good player but we felt that her needs would be best served with WNY,” New England owner Joe Ferrara said in a statement. “As a first year WPSL Elite franchise at this level, we are still analyzing the metrics of what makes sense when it comes to viability and sustainability.”
Pressley was drafted in the second round of the WPS draft in January by Philadelphia and finished her Florida St. career third all-time in school history with 96 appearances, and scored 11 goals (with 11 assists), impressive numbers for a defender. She has been a member of several youth national teams, most recently with the U-23s, which delayed her start to the WPSL Elite season until last Sunday night.
Pressley joins former college teammate Tori Huster in upstate New York, and could be a key piece in the Flash going after a WPSL Elite title after winning the WPS title a year ago.
The move, however, does illustrate the gap in resources (as Ferrara alluded to) between the “professional” teams of WPSL Elite – Boston, WNY, New York, and Chicago – and the “amateurs” – New England, Chesapeake, Philadelphia, and FC Indiana. The Flash are at Boston Saturday night before traveling to New York on June 3. The Flash and Mutiny meet twice in the month of June (9th and 24th).